Ascension of Jesus

The Ascension of Jesus is the Christian teaching that Christ physically departed from Earth by rising into Heaven, in the presence of eleven of his apostles. According to the New Testament narrative, the Ascension occurred forty days after the resurrection. In the Christian tradition, reflected in the major Christian creeds and confessional statements, God exalted Jesus after his death, raising him from the dead and taking him to Heaven, where Jesus took his seat at the right hand of God.

In Christian art, the ascending Jesus is often shown blessing an earthly group below him, signifying the entire Church. The Feast of the Ascension is celebrated on the 40th day of Easter, always a Thursday; the Orthodox tradition has a different calendar up to a month later than in the Western tradition, and while the Anglican Communion continues to observe the feast, many Protestant churches have abandoned the observance.

Celebration

The feast is always observed with an All-night vigil. The day before is the Apodosis (leave-taking) of Easter (i.e., the last day of the Feast of Easter). Before the Vigil, the Paschal hours are said for the last time and the Paschal greeting is exchanged.

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